The World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things, and other delights

On your inevitable drive through the center of the United States helping a friend move, seeing something other than the Grand Canyon, or fleeing the cult you accidentally joined trying to "find yourself" in New Mexico, you may not consider exiting I-70 off a nondescript off-ramp in Wilson, Kansas. You may not notice the billboards directing you towards the "World's Largest Czech Egg," or some amateur signage indicating that you are about to pass one of the Seven Wonders of Kansas. There may be other things on your mind, as miles after miles of flat farmland are prone to put the semi-occupied brain into a state of mild hypnosis. I'd encourage you to look up from the median, adjust your mirror, and whether or not you're still in white robes, take exit 206 to KS 232 North. The intrepid traveler may take note of signs for the Garden of Eden. Yes, the very one. No, not another cult. Follow them. And rest easy, as this artistic sanctuary only asks that you pay for admission, and you're free to leave whenever.

The Garden of Eden is the decades-long work of S.P. Dinsmoor, a Civil War veteran, adamant Populist, and undeniably eccentric sculptor. His Wikipedia page even lists him as such. The man built and maintained his home as a museum up until his death. In fact, he's interred in a symbolic concrete pyramid that he made in the backyard. You can see his blackened, mummified corpse if you ask nicely. His first wife was also laid to rest there. At first, the city had her forcibly buried in the local cemetery, so he dug her up and entombed her remains in the concrete pyramid. See, I told you it was interesting. Why would I lie? Stop driving and reading at the same time.

Dunsmoor's work and writings are on display throughout the property. The front yard contains the agreeable stuff — fantastic, striking depictions of biblical creation, the influence of Satan. Things your parents warned you about as a kid. The backyard displays his political work regarding the importance of labor and collective bargaining, the villainy of bankers, capitalism, etc. More things your parents warned you about as a kid.

Across the street from The Garden are the remnants of a very kind couple's endeavor to beautify the lives of passersby and quench their thirst simultaneously. 

A few blocks west is the wonderfully exhaustively titled Home of the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things. Formerly a one-woman show in a traveling art car, the now-permanent home of the collection showcases not just the objects in question, but the character of the mastermind behind it all as well in a colorful, circus-lettered, old-timey music-playing storefront. As seen on Conan, in Lucas, Kansas, and back country roads all over America. Don't knock; the door's probably open.

Cattywampus to World's Largest, we have a beautifully tiled public toilet. If, for no reason other than being at the mercy of your bowels you stop here, then so be it. Even the loo is worth a peek.

And across the street from that, we have a museum dedicated to outsider and folk art from locals. Featuring otherworldly collages, yarn horror vacui, and very sweet docents, it's well worth the low admission to see what the eclectic population of Kansas is up to. The docent may also be inclined to direct you to a last stop in Lucas. Someone's unmarked backyard, in fact. Another concrete sculptor made her home here, and it's currently in the process of being restored by none other than the creator of World's Largest herself.

The streets of Lucas, Kansas seem to be empty at the moment. Perhaps you, in all your berobed, Birkenstocked glory can change that.